St. Louis family works to make raising backyard chickens easy

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Seth and Maria Jansen started raising chickens in the  backyard of their Florissant home a year and a half ago. They invested in chickens because they wanted an educational pet for their four sons — ages 6, 35 and 2.

Maria and Seth Jansen let their children each pick out a chicken and name it. Their son Joseph, 6, said he likes that the chickens lay eggs.

“When it’s winter it doesn’t lay any eggs so I call it ‘no eggs,’” Joseph Jansen said.

“Now (that it’s summer) it’s ‘yes eggs.’”Maria Jansen said the easiest part about raising chickens is caring for them. Seth and Maria Jansen found themselves overwhelmed in the initial research that goes into raising chickens. They researched what breeds are best for families, what food they eat, how much space they need, how to build a coop, etc. The family said they have enjoyed having the chickens around. “Chickens have great personalities,” Maria Jansen said. “Sometimes we’ll put the kids to bed and just sit out here and watch the chickens because they’re hilarious and they each have their own personality.”

Seth and Maria Jansen recently launched a business called The Easy Chicken. With their business, they hope to help others take on the task of raising backyard chickens. The Easy Chicken provides the research and resources for people to get started raising chickens in their own backyard — they even include the chickens.

The Jansens offer a rental option in case people aren’t sure and want to test out having chickens. They also offer it for people who only want chickens during the summer, warmer months.The Jansens reuse material to build the easy care coop. Maria Jansen said they designed the coop to require minimal care. She said it should take just about five minutes a day to care for the chickens.

The Backyard Chicken Trend:

The Jansens decided to raise chickens because they wanted a family pet. But, Maria Jansen said she thinks backyard chickens have become a trend because people are striving to live a “greener” lifestyle.

“I think people are realizing how ecological it can be and how sustainable,” Maria Jansen said.

“There’s more of a concern to see where your food is coming from. And you can control what they’re eating and how they’re being raised — whether it’s
ethical or not — if you are the one taking care of them.”

U.S. census data showed there is a long-term trend of fewer farms. According to the census, In 2012, the U.S. had 2.1 million farms, which was down 4.3 percent from the last agricultural Census in 2007.

The Center for Disease Control has also noted this rise in backyard chickens. Its website states, “An increasing number of people around the country are choosing to keep live poultry, such as chickens or ducks, as part of a greener, healthier lifestyle.”The CDC also lists warnings and tips for those who raise livestock to avoid illness.

Also in 2012, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported a spike in St. Louis municipalities allowing backyard chickens.

The Jansen’s have a spreadsheet on The Easy Chicken’s website that lists what each St. Louis municipalities’ laws are regarding backyard chickens.

For more information about The Easy Chicken and learn more about raising backyard chickens, visit, http://theeasychicken.com